Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Nathaniel Hazard, [30 September 1791]

From Nathaniel Hazard1

[New York, September 30, 1791]

Dear Sir

Mr. Wolcott2 going sooner than I expected, gives me little Time. The Council of Appointment3 met Yesterday, & appointed Willett Sheriff again.4 The Governor it is thought, gained Webster.5 Miles Hughes,6 tried for it. I negotiated for him, with I. Roosevelt; Tillotson we suppose was for Willett. Peter Schuyler was sick at Home. Miles’s Practice I apprehend is not large. Mel. Smith7 & N. Lawrence8 countenance Hughes’ Views; all three dislike Clinton. Burr keeps his State Attorney-ship, he wants to put it into Nat Lawrence’s Hands. Clinton wants to give it to Ned Livingston,9 this must not be; he will propagate wrong Policy thro’ out the State. Lawrence looks up to Burr with Veneration, has formed a favorable Opinion of you, but is shy. He is honest, but very wary & cold blooded for a young Man. He has suspected Harrison10 wished the State Attorney-ship. Harrison however respectable, is no Statesman. I believe it would be good Policy to give it to Lawrence. It would be deemed so far as you could countenance it, an indubitable Proof of your sincere Good Will to Burr & himself. Allow me for Brevity Sake to conclude with a Word which means like all lengthier Subscriptions of Address, Nothing or everything just as this Heart feels—to say cordially


N. H

P.S. Clinton is staggered, he is afraid to turn Burr out, & Burr wont resign untill a new Council, if he can avoid it.11 We want to make Dr. Minima12 Sheriff of Queens County.

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Hazard was a New York City merchant and ironmonger.

2Oliver Wolcott, Jr.

3The Council of Appointment was a distinctive feature of the New York State Constitution of 1777. Consisting of the governor and one senator from each of the four senatorial districts, selected each year by the Assembly, it exercised complete control over the selection of personnel for the appointive jobs in the state government.

4Marinus Willett was sheriff of New York County from 1784 to 1787 and from 1791 to 1795.

5Alexander Webster of Washington County was a state senator from the eastern district from 1789 to 1791.

In 1791 the members of the Council of Appointment in addition to Governor George Clinton were Webster, Isaac Roosevelt, Thomas Tillotson, and Peter Schuyler.

6This is apparently James Miles Hughes, a New York City lawyer, a master of chancery, and a notary public.

7Melancton Smith, a prominent New York City lawyer and merchant, had served in the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1788. A leading Antifederalist, he had opposed the ratification of the Constitution in the New York Ratifying Convention. He was elected to the New York legislature in 1791.

8Nathaniel Lawrence of Hempstead represented Queens County in the New York Ratifying Convention. In 1790 he was appointed secretary to the state regents, and in 1791 he was elected an assemblyman from Queens.

9Edward Livingston, a lawyer, was the youngest brother of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston. At this time he held no public office.

10Richard Harison, United States attorney for the District of New York.

11Aaron Burr had defeated Philip Schuyler in January, 1791, for the seat in the United States Senate, but his term did not commence until Congress met in October. Meanwhile he continued to exercise his authority as attorney general of New York State. The new Council of Appointment would not meet until January, 1792, to choose another attorney general.

12Daniel Menema was appointed sheriff of Queens County in 1792.

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